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Aurelio Rodríguez

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Aurelio Rodríguez Ituarte (Jr.)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 10", Weight 180 lb.

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[edit] Biographical Information

Aurelio Rodríguez was known as a defensive wizard at third base but never hit more than .254 in any of his 17 major league seasons. Clearly, his almost magical defensive skills were his main calling card. Though only a one-time Gold Glove winner, who was constantly overshadowed by the great Brooks Robinson, his lightning-quick reflexes and sure hands resulted in great plays that most third-sackers could only dream of. His defensive skills single-handedly kept him in the majors, and far overshadowed his anemic career offensive numbers.

He began his professional baseball career at the age of 17, hitting .260 for the Jalisco Charros in 1965. He also hit .293 with 25 homers and 104 RBI for the Fresnillo Mineros in the Mexican Center League, tying for fourth in the league in homers. In 1966 Rodríguez hit .292/~.313/.413 for Jalisco and led the Mexican League with 16 triples. That earned him a deal with the California Angels - over the next four seasons he split time between the Angels and their top farm teams.

In 1970 Rodríguez was having his best year in the majors with the Washington Senators (a 102 OPS+, 19 homers, 33 doubles, 15 steals, 83 RBI and 70 runs - all career highs) at the age of 22 while playing for Ted Williams but he was shipped to the Detroit Tigers as part of a deal for Denny McLain. In 19976 he broke Brooks Robinson's run of 15 straight Gold Gloves at third base in the American League.

Aurelio bounced around the majors in the early 1980s after a decade primarily with Detroit, then was released in 1983 after 2,017 games in the majors. He came back to the Mexican League after a 19-year absence and hit .318/~.439/.519 for the Mexico City Tigers in 1984. A year later he went to the Monterrey Sultans and batted .304/~.369/.479. Rodríguez sat out the explosive 1986 Liga campaign and returned in 1987 with the Saltillo Saraperos, batting .371/~.454/.608 in 68 games. Rodríguez would have tied for third in the league in average if he had gotten enough plate appearances to qualify. After a brief retirement, Aurelio returned the next year at age 40 but slipped to .182/.229/.182 the next year and called it quits for good.

Rodríguez also was a long-time fixture in the Mexican Pacific League. After retiring, he moved into the front office and managed Monterrey to the Mexican League title in 1991. In 1995 he was voted into the Salon de la Fama. That same year, he was managing the Reynosa Broncos but was suspended for the season after hitting umpire Alejandro Villalpando in arguing over a call.

In addition to managing in the minors, Rodriguez spent some time in 1990 as a coach for the Toledo Mud Hens and was a coach for the Missoula Osprey in 2000.

Ironically, in September 23, 2000, Rodriguez was visiting Detroit from his home in Mexico. While he was walking on Detroit's southwest side at 2:00 in the afternoon with an unidentified woman, a car swerved and jumped the sidewalk and ran over Rodriguez before hitting a tree. The driver of the car had suffered a stroke. Rodriguez, who had to be pulled from under the car, was 52 at the time of his death. Rodriguez' funeral in Mexico was attended by thousands of people, including the president of that country. He was elected to the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame as part of its 2012 class.

He is the brother of Chico Rodríguez and the father of Aurelio Rodríguez Jr..

[edit] Trivia

Rodriguez' 1969 baseball card depicts not Rodriguez, but an Angels batboy.

[edit] Notable Achievements

[edit] Records Held

  • Fewest errors, third baseman, season, 4, 1978

[edit] Year-By-Year Minor League Managerial Record

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1985 Sultanes de Monterrey Mexican League 14th none replaced Jose Guerrero
1990 Niagara Falls Rapids New York-Penn League 35-42 9th Detroit Tigers
Sultanes de Monterrey Mexican League 6th none Lost in 1st round replaced Leobardo Figueroa
1991 Sultanes de Monterrey Mexican League 82-38 1st none League Champs
1992 Sultanes de Monterrey Mexican League -- none replaced by Carlos Paz
1993 Saraperos de Saltillo Mexican League -- none replaced by Alfredo Rios
1994 Industriales de Monterrey Mexican League 76-53 3rd none Lost in 1st round
1996 Broncos de Reynosa Mexican League -- none replaced by Leo Clayton, Raul Montoya, & Antonio Pollorena
1998 Acereros de Monclova Mexican League 75-46 3rd none Lost League Finals
1999 Acereros de Monclova Mexican League 71-46 4th none Lost in 2nd round

[edit] Sources

vivabeisbol.net and "The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics" by Pedro Treto Cisneros

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